World Twenty20 2014: Irish hopeful over Stirling fitness

ICC World Twenty20 2014

  • Venue: Bangladesh
  • Date: 16 March - 6 April

Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on all games from Super 10 stage onwards on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra (final only on Radio 4 LW) and via BBC Sport website, BBC Sport app & BBC iPlayer Radio app; live text commentary on BBC Sport website & mobiles

Ireland opener Paul Stirling is likely to be fit to face the Netherlands in Friday's crucial World Twenty20 encounter in Bangladesh.

Stirling retired hurt in Wednesday's win over United Arab Emirates after being hit on the elbow by a lifting delivery from Asadullah Shareef.

A scan revealed tissue damage and Stirling will have a late fitness test.

Ireland top Group B and will progress to the Super 10 stage if they defeat the Dutch in Sylhet.

Group B table

Won Lost NRR Pts

Ireland

2

0

+0.641

4

Zimbabwe

1

1

+0.125

2

Netherlands

1

1

+0.094

2

UAE

0

2

-0.902

0

A sizeable net run-rate advantage means the Irish could still go through even if they slip up against the Netherlands.

However, with high-profile matches against England, South Africa, Sri Lanka and New Zealand at stake they will take nothing for granted.

"I would be hopeful," said Ireland physio Andrew Dunne about Stirling's fitness. "Without any fracture he can't do any more damage to it but it can still be painful so we'll see how he pulls up on Friday morning."

Ireland captain William Porterfield and coach Phil Simmons face a selection dilemma between off-spinner Andy McBrine and seamer Tim Murtagh.

They have each played a match so far, with McBrine impressing on his debut against Zimbabwe before Murtagh turned in an equally impressive showing when replacing the 20-year-old on Wednesday.

Conditions are likely to suit spin bowling and if Ireland cannot utilise Stirling's deceptive spin, then McBrine's chances of playing would seem to be increased.